Koalas and raising Warragamba Dam Wall

The Colong Foundation for Wilderness have raised concerned about inadequate koala field assessments completed in relation to raising Warragamba Dam Wall.

On 18 March 2020 the Sydney Morning Herald reported on a leaked document that showed the NSW Government’s biodiversity assessment of the 5,700 hectare proposed World Heritage Zone was rushed with ecologists having only eight weeks to complete the task.  The Herald reports that the search for koalas during the assessment lasted only three hours and forty minutes when the search should actually have taken 112 hours.

It is extremely alarming that such little regard has been shown for the wellbeing of koalas and other species given the fight the our wildlife now faces for survival after the recent bushfires.

Colong Foundation is asking concerned readers to send a short email to Environment Minister Matt Kean telling him that he should demand a proper survey of this iconic Australian species in the Blue Mountains. The following points have been provided by the Colong Foundation to help you write your message:

  • The leaked document showed a total of 3 hours and 40 minutes was spent looking for koala’s over an impact area the size of 10,600 football fields (5,700 hectares).
  • The document also showed just 15 hours was spent looking for greater gliders over the same 5,700 hectare area.
  • The leaked assessment report did not once mention the words ‘World Heritage’.
  • All assessment field work undertaken before the bushfires is not worth the paper it is written on and needs to be re-done, as the fires have caused a dramatic redistribution of threatened species across NSW.

Paddle NSW Training

Paddle NSW is currently offering Flatwater Leadership skills training with reduced prices for successful applicants!

The Paddle NSW Flatwater Leadership Course is being held on March 28-29 at Lake Parramatta, Sydney and on 4 April in Dubbo Central Western NSW. This two day training course is sufficient for a teacher or Sport & Recreation leader to take kids out on flat water so extensive.

The Dubbo course is heavily subsidised and costs only $150 per participant!

Click here to register for both courses.

Paddle NSW can also design tailored courses for 6 to 8 people in locations across NSW to upskill club members in basic whitewater skills or to upskill club paddle leaders. Contact Paddle NSW here for more information.

Give a Dam about World Heritage Wilderness

The Colong Foundation for Wilderness is concerned that the insurance industry and developers are lobbying politicians to raise Warragamba Dam wall [1]. The Foundation believes that they are primarily doing this because raising the dam wall would generate 40,000 additional home insurance policies in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley resulting from new floodplain developments [2].

In response, the Foundation is lodging a shareholder resolution to QBE’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) requiring them to protect our Blue Mountains World Heritage listing.

The Foundation plans to submit the following resolution to QBE:

“Shareholders request that the company develop a policy which guarantees QBE does not invest in, insure or advocate for any projects or works that could result in negative impacts occurring within the boundaries of a World Heritage or Ramsar property.”

The Foundation states that to get world heritage protection on the agenda, they need 100 QBE shareholders to sign on to our resolution on world heritage before Friday.

The Foundation believes they are so close to reaching 100, and are asking that if you own QBE shares could you please sign on to this form to help get them across the line. If you experience any trouble during sign on, or have any questions, please contact the Foundation at

[1] Insurance Council of Australia
[2] Infrastructure NSW

Volunteer Weeding

Volunteer! Weeding, especially of juvenile species requires excellent ID skills. Direction from an experienced bush regenerator is fundamental to getting it right.

National Parks and Wildlife staff across the state are in the process of planning how to best get on top of these invasive weed populations and the good news is we have a bit of time to get it right!

Now is not the best time to jump into burned places, as we trample much of the new growth, both good and bad.

As the fires ripped through the forest, they burned much of the vegetation. The playing field has now been levelled. However, now the battle begins as young plants fight for space, sunlight and water. By springtime most weeds will have grown to a sufficient size to identify and kill with relative ease. This is when we will deplete the seedbank and tip the balance in our favour. Preventing any new plants reaching maturity and reducing the population for generations to come.

So, what can you do? Go online or call your local National Parks office and find out what opportunities there are in your area. Councils and private Bushcare groups are also great alternatives, and don’t forget your own gardens either.

Guest note by:

Grant Purcell


Blue Mountains Branch

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service

Bushwalking NSW Photo Competition

Show us your best shots!

Here’s an opportunity to make use of your extra time at home and take some great shots of beautiful scenery and people.

Bushwalking NSW wants to share your photos with the world. Enter our photo competition to win a great prize from Paddy Pallin and see your photos featured in our newsletters and website. The photo competition closes on 30 June 2020.

We are looking for the following types of photos:

  1. NSW/ACT national park scene
  2. People bushwalking in NSW/ACT
  3. NSW/ACT wildlife
  4. Website banner sized 1000 x 250 pixels to illustrate any BNSW web page.

There are three ways to enter:

  1. Email a public link to your photos (eg google drive, dropbox or photo share apps) including your name and image name and location to Bushwalking NSW here.
  2. Upload your photos here and email the link to us.
  3. Upload your photos here and email us to let us know they are there.

Paddy Pallin Prizes valued at $170 to be won:

1 Osprey Trillium 45L Duffel in Granite Grey

2 Osprey Ultralight Zipper Sack Sets in Lime/Orange/Red

4 Light My Fire Spill-free Cups

1 Light My Fire Cup’n Spork Set

1 PP Nalgene Waterbottle

We look forward to seeing your photos!

Please note that by submitting photographs to this competition, you acknowledge that:

  • you possess copyright to the images,
  • you give Bushwalking NSW permission to use the images you supply in any Bushwalking NSW website, newsletter, social media, email, online and printed publications without attribution, and
  • you warrant that Bushwalking NSW will not infringe any copyright by using the images you have supplied in any way.

Thank you for sharing the beauty of our bushland with the world!

10,000 Koalas Dead

The Nature Conservation Council (NCC) states that shocking new analysis estimates that fire, drought and starvation have killed 10,000 koalas since October [1]. That’s one out of every three koalas in the state!

Koala numbers were already declining steeply and slipping towards extinction. The fires have made their plight even more urgent.

In the midst of this crisis, you would expect our government would do everything in its power to protect remaining forests. But it is doing the opposite.

The NSW Government has now approved logging in two state forests that fires ripped through just weeks ago.

The NCC wants you to call on Premier Berejiklian to put an immediate moratorium on logging and to conduct a wildlife and habitat assessment.

More than 5 million hectares has burnt in NSW this fire season [2], including more than 41% of the national parks estate and 40% of state forests [3].

Native forests are resilient and will recover in time. Burnt forests are living forests with trees that are sprouting fresh leaves. Animals that survived the fires will slowly move back into these forests as life regenerates, so it is critical that these areas are kept safe.

Logging burnt forests not only destroys wildlife habitat, it slows recovery and harms soil and water health. It also increases future fire risk and leaves the forest uninhabitable for decades [3].

Premier Berejiklian has the power to keep forests safe from further destruction. The NCC asks you to call on her to put a moratorium on logging and give our wildlife a fighting chance after the bushfires.

Unburnt forests are critical refuges for koalas and other threatened species. With so much of the state burnt, koalas cannot afford to have their homes and food chopped down and their lives put at risk.

Right now, the NSW Government is looking at where else can be logged, against the best scientific advice, and before carrying out a post-bushfire wildlife and habitat impact assessment.

Pressure from the community has made a difference this bushfire season already, allowing wildlife carers and ecologists into closed state forests on the North Coast where koalas were dying of starvation.

We need to keep being a voice for koalas and other threatened species.

In times like these it can be hard to hold on to hope, but tens of thousands of people are standing up for nature and we are not backing down. Burnt forests are recovering and koalas are being rescued and rehabilitated by dedicated wildlife carers.

[1] Ten thousand koalas may have died in the NSW bushfires, inquiry hears. ABC, 19 February, 2020.
[2] Understanding the impact of the 2019-2020 fires. Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, February 2020.
[3] Analysis by The Wilderness Society, 2020.[4] Post-bushfire logging makes a bad situation even worse, but the industry is ignoring the science. ABC Lindenmayer, 29 January, 2020.

Logging of Unburnt Forests

Just weeks after fires ripped through masses of NSW forests, the Nature Conservation Council (NCC) has obtained evidence of unburnt forests being logged right now.

With so much forest destroyed by the fires, the NCC states it’s critical that what’s left is protected to ensure wildlife survives. Yet some of the last prime habitat for nationally threatened species such as the Spotted-tailed Quoll and the Hastings River Mouse is currently being destroyed.

Despite unimaginable destruction from the summer of bushfire hell, the NCC states that it is business as usual for industrial logging.

The NCC says that the government is keeping people in the dark about this crisis, however the NCC has obtained video footage of logging happening last week.

The NCC is asking that we watch and share the video to help expose this outrage.

Watch and share it on Facebook.

Watch and share it on Twitter.
Or watch it on the NCC website.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian declared a State of Emergency when the bushfires were roaring. The truth is, for nature the state of emergency is continuing, yet the NCC believes the NSW Government is allowing industrial logging to continue.

The region around Styx River State Forest – halfway between Armidale and Nambucca Heads – was heavily burned in the catastrophic bushfires. The few healthy patches left are some of the most important unburnt habitat in the region for the Spotted-tail Quoll, Greater Glider and the Hastings River Mouse.

Over 100 hectares of Styx River State Forest has been logged since late 2019, destroying critical unburnt habitat and pushing threatened species closer to the brink of extinction.

This is a crisis and the NCC states that the NSW Government needs to take urgent action to stop the destruction of forests and protect wildlife now. The NCC states that the crisis has been exposed with video evidence of logging in threatened species habitat and this cannot go ignored by our politicians.

The NCC states that Premier Berejiklian needs to urgently stop the logging. This logging operation was approved long before the fires when there was much more healthy habitat available. The catastrophic bushfires have changed everything for nature in NSW and no approval should be accepted as current until the full ecological impact of the fires is understood.

The NCC wants your help to make this video go viral and expose the crisis to pressure the government to stop destructive logging.

The NCC states that together, we can be a voice for nature, a voice for forests and a voice for threatened species such as the Greater Glider and Powerful Owl.

National Parks Association of NSW: Regrow and Rewild

The overwhelming devastation of this fire season is hard to fathom. Over 5.2 million hectares of NSW has been impacted by bushfire since July 2019. With so many families, communities and natural areas affected, the damage will be felt for decades to come.

More than a third of our national parks and reserves in NSW have been burnt. Conservative figures place the loss of native animals at well over one billion Australia-wide. Many conservation reserves are changed beyond recognition with large areas of critical wildlife habitat lost.

It’s time for an immediate stocktake of what we have lost and what remains. It is not too late. The future of our wildlife and natural places hinges upon our efforts to regrow and rewild.
Please give generously to regrow and rewild healthy places for plants, animals and people.

The changing climate means we need to adapt and rebuild our relationship with nature. To do this, National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) will demand that governments:

  • acknowledge climate change is profoundly affecting the health and resilience of the environment to which our lives are inextricably bound,
  • manage natural landscapes in ways that enhance natural processes, protect biodiversity and maximise natural climate solutions, and
  • protect human settlements and communities from future disasters through better planning and strategic fire management.

Your financial support will help NPA to employ a dedicated Senior Campaigner – a person with extensive knowledge of the ecological, operational, community and political complexities of fire management. They will ensure members and supporters have access to the best, most up-to-date information about fire. And advocate for:

  • protecting the unburnt natural areas, giving remaining wildlife the habitat they need to re-establish their populations,
  • dealing with weeds and pests that threaten to kill or out-compete the recovery of native species, and
  • ensuring that future hazard reduction is both ecologically and socially sustainable.

Equally important, your support will enable NPA to coordinate a range of volunteer-based activities to regrow and rewild our natural landscapes.

Building on NPA existing expertise in conducting citizen science and community engagement projects, NPA aim to employ a dedicated Project Coordinator to conduct fire recovery projects with volunteers, members and branches. They will provide technical support for field projects across NSW such as:

  • identifying suitable areas for native species that were not directly impacted during the 2019-2020 fires,
  • surveying the survival and return of native plants and wildlife in burnt areas, and
  • implementing habitat enhancements and restoration works to improve the survival of native species and maximise their recovery.

If you are able to volunteer for NPA projects, NPA would love to hear from you. NPA would also appreciate any financial contribution you can make to our efforts as we all come to terms with the devastating impacts of the fires.

Please support NPA to regrow, rewild our natural heritage and provide healthy places for plants, animals and people.

Anne Dickson
National Parks Association of NSW

Gary Dunnett
Executive Officer
National Parks Association of NSW


Volunteering for Nature

Summer of 2019-2020 has been characterised by extreme weather in particular catastrophic bushfires and more recently rain and flooding events. Volunteers are needed to help local wildlife and bushland to recover from fires, floods and other climate change related events. Volunteering benefits both your physical and mental health and enables you to contribute positively to your community. To point you in the right direction below is a list of current nature conservation volunteering opportunities.

Regrow, Rewild – National Parks Association of NSW

The National Parks Association of NSW is looking for volunteers for future projects to assist in the recovery of national parks, communities and native species impacted by bushfires. Express your interest here.

Bushcare and Landcare

Bushcare and Landcare Volunteering is another way that you can contribute to the recovery of parks and other bushlands. Bushcare groups are often part of a local Council or National Parks & Wildlife Service program and may be provided with help such as supervision, tools and training. Landcare groups are mostly in rural areas, however there are also many in metropolitan areas.

Birdlife Discovery Centre Sydney

The Birdlife Discovery Centre at Homebush Bay in Sydney is looking for volunteers who enjoy bird watching, conservation and promoting awareness of bird conservation. For more information on this and other bird conservation volunteering opportunities click here or contact Debbie Harris at

Conservation Volunteers Australia

Conservation Volunteers Australia provides a range of opportunities for people with a passion for nature and conservation to get involved both locally and across Australia. Bushfire recovery projects are a current focus for conservation volunteers.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has volunteering opportunities available. If you would like to contribute to the protection of the environment and meet other like-minded people click on this link to explore volunteering positions at NPWS.

iNaturalist Environment Recovery Project

The Environment Recovery Project is asking participants to record and upload their observations in areas of burnt bushland. Findings will be used to assist understanding of how species recover from the 2019‑2020 bushfire season.

Other nature volunteering opportunities

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has a range of volunteering opportunities in conservation, animal care, gardens and national parks. Click here for more information and to apply.

Seek Volunteer

The Seek Volunteer database is one of the largest in Australia and allows you to explore volunteer opportunities according to location and area of interest.

Birdata – Birdlife Australia

Birdata is a national bird monitoring program run by Birdlife Australia that you can contribute to. Visit the birdata website for information on how to get involved.

BirdLife Photography: Exciting opportunities exist for you to join this special interest group’s committee! Click here for more information.

National Office Volunteer Opportunities: BirdLife Australia E-Store pick and packer – email for further information

Birds on Farms (NSW): A regular surveying program is being established now. If you are interested in being a volunteer birdwatcher, click here for more information.

Re-aging the temperate woodlands of Central West NSW: Activities include habitat restoration, bird monitoring/watching, and engagement with schools and the general community. Click here for more information.

The Beach-nesting Birds program is always looking for new volunteers as our birds of focus are widely spread across an immense coastline and the threats facing them are as voluminous as the ocean. To read more about the many volunteer roles available click here. Training and mentoring can be provided!

For more information on Beach-nesting Birds volunteering, including where volunteers are most needed click here.

World Migratory Bird Day is coming up on Saturday May 9th! More information can be found by clicking here.

2020 dates for the National Migratory Shorebird program’s summer and winter shorebird counts are:

Summer Count: November 1st – February 29th (ideal date is January 15th)

Winter Count: May 15th – August 15th (ideal date is July 1st)

Forestry Industry, CFMEU campaign to log national parks

The Australian recently reported1 that the forest industry and CFMEU have called for fuel loads in national parks to be aggressively managed through hazard reduction burning and selective logging, to avoid a repeat of the recent bushfire crisis.

The Colong Foundation for Wilderness2 notes that the science is clear that native forest logging is a major threat to our dwindling wildlife and makes landscapes more fire prone.

The SMH3 has reported that calls by the forestry industry for hazard reduction in native forests are misleading as ecology and fire experts state that the evidence shows that thinning trees makes forests more fire prone.

The Colong Foundation states that the Forestry Industry’s Forestry Management Zone and Eden wood-chip mill were burnt due to poor fire management practices. The Colong Foundation believes that consequently the forestry industry is now seeking to log national parks which hold some of the only unburnt areas.

The Australian reports that Australian National University landscape ecologist Professor David Lindenmayer said selective logging of wet forests elevates fire risk for up to 40 years and that thinning the forest opens the canopy and more light and litter on the floor dries out the forest.”

These views4 are shared by Professor James Watson, director of the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science at the University of Queensland, who stated that we need to re-evaluate how we think about forestry and logging in Australia. “The science is pretty clear. Many of these fires got out of control in logged areas and logging is the very reason why many species are already endangered. If we want to maintain threatened species in these landscapes, we’ve got to realise that forestry does not work to save them.”

Writing for the ABC5, Professor Lindenmayer has expressed concerns that just as forests are starting to recover from fires they are now threatened by calls for post-fire logging. The Australian Forest Products Association has called for a “massive bushfire recovery harvesting operation” to recover burnt trees for timber.

Professor Lindenmayer writes “multiple independent, peer reviewed studies show logging forests after bushfires increases future fire risk and can render the forest uninhabitable for wildlife for decades or even centuries”.



1 The Australian, 8 January 2020, Forestry industry, CFMEU united on logging, burns to take fight to bushfires”

2 Colong Foundation for Wilderness Media Release 8 January 2020, Wildlife needs protection, not misinformation campaign by forestry industry”.

3 Sydney Morning Herald, 9 January 2020, “Scientists warn forest industry plan could increase fire risk”

4 ABC News 19 January 2020, “Inside the race to protect 250 threatened species hit by bushfire”

5 ABC News 30 January 2020, “Post-bushfire logging makes a bad situation even worse, but the industry is ignoring the science” by David Lindenmayer